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Sheila Fleet Gold and Diamonds

Sheila grew up on a farm at Hoxa Head in Orkney with 3 female and 2 male relatives, surrounded by panoramic views of the countryside and the Pentland Firth, the powerful tidal strait that separates Orkney from mainland Scotland. Her mother encouraged all children to draw and be creative, which had a lasting influence on Sheila and her female relatives—all of whom eventually attended Edinburgh College of Art.

Sheila's older sister, Connie, leads the way and, on a visit back from a big academy with her friend Anna, takes Sheila along the seaside with them to sketch. It's a eureka moment and Sheila decides that art is what she wants to live for.

Connie takes some of Sheila's sketches back to the big academy to show the professor. He was impressed, advising Sheila to make a portfolio and enroll in the course. To expand her portfolio, Sheila cycles, in all weather, taking a bus to Kirkwall for an evening art class.

Sheila was accepted at Edinburgh College of Art, moving to the Scottish capital in 1963 to begin her studies. While in Edinburgh, Sheila joined a short club where she collected, polished and cut stone. This led to her specializing in jewelery and fashion design in her third year at the major academy.

“I was attracted by the idea of taking up a craft that would give me a creative future and also help me make a living. When cutting and polishing the stone in the novice lapidary club, I set my initial stone in a silver ring. It was my first jewelery making experience and where I started my journey.”

Sheila's talent for design was recognized during her university years, during which she won several awards and scholarships. Graduating in 1967 with a Diploma in Arts and Crafts, Sheila was awarded a postgraduate diploma for excellence in training the following year.

In 1968, after receiving a highly acclaimed postgraduate diploma, Sheila was awarded the Helen A. Rose prize for most promising student. He went on expeditions around Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, visiting leading designers including Friedrich Becker and Paul Gram. Hartkopf, an experience Sheila interprets as "unforgettable".

In 1969, after completing her journey, Sheila joined Corocraft, the largest costume jewelery industry in the world in the 1960s. She spent 8 years working as a designer and model builder for Corocraft, and during this time won numerous prizes for her designs in Goldsmiths, Silversmiths and Jewelers Arts Council Competitions.

While in London, Sheila met her future husband, Rick, a talented blacksmith and photographer, and in 1977 they moved to Orkney, where Sheila joined Ortak, a local jewelery company, as their initial expert designer and modeller.

Ultimately, after 21 years in the jewelry industry, Sheila decided to go it alone and, in 1993, Sheila Fleet Jewelery was founded. Originally selling designs from her front porch, Sheila has built a strong global reputation for her distinctive designs and currently has 5 retail positions across Scotland: 2 in Orkney (The Kirk Gallery& Café and Kirkwall Gallery), Sheilas Edinburgh Gallery in stunning Stockbridge, his Glasgow Gallery in Princes Square on the Buchanan Lane, as well as his St Andrews Gallery in the Fife Kingdom.

Sheila Fleet Jewelery continues to grow, thanks to Sheila's vision and timeless ability to produce beautiful jewelery that her customers love. In 2013 Sheila was awarded an OBE at the 2013 New Year Awards for her services to the jewelery industry and, a year after, received an honorary degree from Edinburgh College of Art.

In 2013, Rick sadly died of Pancreatic Cancer. Many of Rick's incredible pictures of Orkney and Scotland continue to be used throughout Sheila's jewelery displays and other marketing modules. The Sheila's Daisies at Dawn, Colored Daisies and Diamond Daisies collections were motivated by the images Rick took and now honor his memory. Donations from every sale go to Pancreatic Cancer Scotland.

Sheila Fleet Jewelery is a family run business, and Sheila finds invaluable support from her son, Martin, and daughter-in-law, Mairi, in running and improving the business every day.

Sheila continues to be one of the designers for this business and continues to add to her ever-increasing number of collections. While Sheila attributes her artistic talents to her mother, she believes her creative motivation comes from her father.

“He is very passionate about what he does”, says Sheila, “and he never thinks about stopping work.”

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